Golisano Children’s Hospital Joins National NICU Research Network

URMC teams up with Buffalo to give WNY babies access to more treatments

May 16, 2011

Premature and sick newborns across western New York will have access to the newest therapies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), thanks to a $1 million grant from Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). URMC partnered with physicians in Buffalo on the grant, ensuring families from across a large swath of upstate New York have access to NIH studies.

Golisano Children’s Hospital joins 17 other elite children’s hospital across the country in the Neonatal Research Network for the next five years. These hospitals will be examining the best ways to treat sepsis, intraventricular hemorrhage, chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension among other threats to children’s health. Work done with the network has established cooling therapy to preserve neurological function in babies who experienced a lack of oxygen during birth and has helped to determine the best course of treatment for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), the leading cause of blindness in premature infants.

“Our families have access to cooling therapy and other life-saving therapies because of the work done by hospitals in this network. In fact, as a network site in the past, we helped develop these therapies,” said Carl D’Angio, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics and the principal investigator for the Rochester/Buffalo site. “We’re eager to rejoin the network and continue to find the effective ways to give children the best start in life.”

As part of the network, Golisano Children’s Hospital will be able to offer families the very latest in therapies for their premature or sick newborns. The hospital plans to participate in a trial of surgical techniques for necrotizing enterocolitis, a life-threatening gastrointestinal condition common among premature infants. It will continue its long-standing work on ROP and lung injury by evaluating a new therapy based on a naturally-occurring sugar to participating patients.

In 1986, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, initiated the Neonatal Research Network to conduct multi-center clinical trials and observational studies in neonatal medicine. The network was created because many of the treatment and management strategies in 1986 had become standards without being properly evaluated. In addition, multiple clinical centers were necessary to provide a large enough population from which appropriate (with adequate statistical power to detect clinically important differences) samples could be drawn. At the same time, NICHD also established a companion Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit (MFMU) Network to do similar research in obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine.

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Heather Hare
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